This story was produced by journalism students at Purdue University Fort Wayne currently enrolled in COM317 – Digital Storytelling, under the supervision of professor Heloisa Sturm Wilkerson. They reached out to 36 Indiana candidates to learn more about their stances on housing issues affecting the state. Only a handful of candidates had proposals to address the housing crisis that has affected the nation.
By Teresa Nabangala
The 2022 midterm election campaign ends in less than two weeks, as voters choose their candidates on Nov. 8. Constituents are looking for solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Indiana, a problem that is affecting the entire nation.
Across the state, housing affordability has become a crisis as both home sales and rental costs have risen to record levels. What can be done to alleviate the crisis? We reached out to candidates running for state senate in Allen County to learn more about their proposals.
Sen. Travis Holdman (R-District 19) is running for reelection with a campaign focused on community development. Earlier this year, Holdman included provisions on Indiana Bill SB 382 for a state tax credit that would benefit projects addressing the housing needs of workers.
The bill will take effect next January and it will provide up to $30 million annually over five years in affordable and workforce housing state tax credits, for a total of up to $150 million. Eligible taxpayers must apply to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority with qualifying construction projects to receive the state tax credit.
Democrat Zach Heimach, who is seeking to replace retiring Sen. Dennis Kruse in District 14, worries about the difficulties young professionals currently face to afford housing.
A survey conducted last year by Pew Research shows that 70% of Americans believe that young people now have a more difficult time buying a home than their parents’ generation did.
Incomes have decrease from 2021 to 2022, making it unaffordable for residents to rent or buy homes for their own comfort. The graph below, with data collected from the Center for Housing and Policy at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, indicates how affordable it is to own a house in different regions of the state of Indiana. Index values of 100 or above indicate that homeownership is affordable for a median income household.
Heimach said that, even though affordable housing may not be the core issue for the majority of the senate candidates, it is a very serious issue. He believes government should prevent major corporations from buying real estate to make a profit, in order to provide more affordable housing.
“We have to go to the people experiencing this, listen to the people who are well diverse people in to order to keep it affordable,” Heimach said. “If we don’t know the answer, we just must find the answers.”
State Sen. Liz Brown (R-District 15), who is unopposed for re-election, and Republican candidate Tyler Johnson, who is running against Heimach for the District 14 seat, did not provide information on their plans to provide affordable housing in their districts.